Symbols of a Father's Love
Three years ago - when the girls were 11 and 12 - Jeff and I decided to make the financial investment, buying the dollhouse kits for Christmas. The girls were outgrowing toys by that point, but that's why we knew they'd truly care for the houses - that they were mature enough to treat the houses as treasured "art projects."
Of course, purchasing the kits was merely the beginning. Jeff got right to work, simultaneously building both in our basement and endeavoring to make sure he didn't finish one before the other. And he worked patiently and diligently - sanding, painting each individual piece, sanding again, painting again, carefully cutting, gluing, staining - all in between faithfully supporting my ability to be home and home-educating via his full-time job (which this past fall included a rigorous interview process for a promotion to a position as a corporate trainer within his company), running MissionGuides, leading several missions trips, volunteering at church, diving into on-going maintenance projects for one thing or another in our beloved-but-aging-home, and purposing all along to be present with the girls and me first and foremost. He never gave up; doing so never even crossed his mind.
So now this Christmas - after three years of devoted perseverance - he presented the girls with their houses. They had, of course, seen his progress over time. And they knew he was close to finishing even though he purposely avoided telling them how close so that the final unveiling would be somewhat of a surprise. Yet they were still duly amazed this morning when they found these beautiful masterpieces waiting for them.
And now their fun - which I will, of course, "count" in some way as part of our homeschooling - begins. They had saved their own money and asked for gift cards to Hobby Lobby as birthday and Christmas presents in order to purchase people and furniture, all of which has been kept in careful storage while they waited. So now - once we get the houses situated in their rooms - each will decide on the interior design for her house and get to work on wall colors (paint and/or wallpaper), flooring, and accessories so the doll families can "move in." Once they're done, the artwork on the inside will match what Jeff has given them externally.
I know lots of men passionately love their wives and children - and that each demonstrates his love in different ways. And, of course, Jeff's love for the girls and me has been evident in so many different ways all through the years; he certainly didn't need to build the houses to prove it. But he did choose to build them - he poured hundreds and hundreds of hours into them and prepared and positioned each tiny piece as an act of love - and they stand as beautiful, concrete testaments to his devotion. Devotion to his precious daughters and devotion even to me as the mother of his girls. We are so blessed to have him!